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Consultation begins on a sustainable framework for UK aviation

AEF welcomes today’s statement by the Secretary of State for Transport, Philip Hammond, announcing the launch of a scoping consultation on a new UK aviation policy. This begins a process that will lead to the eventual publication of a ‘sustainable framework policy’ in early 2013.  Labelling the current Air Transport White Paper as “fundamentally out of date because it fails to give sufficient weight to the challenge of climate change“, the scoping document reiterates the Government’s decision not to build new runways at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, while challenging the industry to ensure any growth is consistent with environmental goals and “protecting the quality of life of local communities“. The consultation seeks comment and supporting evidence in three key areas: aviation’s economic contribution, how to address climate change, and protecting the local environment.

In particular, it asks for views on whether the EU emissions trading scheme is sufficient to deal with greenhouse gas emissions, or whether additional measures are required; the scope for setting a “noise envelope” around airports, and; what can be done to improve community engagement, for example, through airport consultative committees.

Although we will have to wait to see how the Government will develop these themes in its aviation policy, the scoping document poses many of the right questions to explore both the breadth and detail of the current policy issues highlighted by NGOs and communities around airports and under flightpaths.

The consultation will be open for 6 months and the AEF will produce briefings on the key themes in due course.

‘Developing a sustainable framework for UK aviation: scoping document’ can be viewed at: www.dft.gov.uk/consultations/open/2011-09/  Philip Hammond’s statement can also be seen on the DfT web site.